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What’s the Process for Getting an IUD?

You need a prescription to get an intrauterine device (IUD). These contraceptive devices must be inserted by a doctor. Here’s what you need to do to get an IUD.

Learn About IUD Options

Before you decide to get an IUD, talk to your medical provider about the options available. Hormonal IUDs like Skyla, Mirena, Kyleena, and Liletta use progestin to prevent pregnancy, which can help make periods lighter and reduce cramps and period pain. This type of IUD is effective for about 3 to 5 years.

ParaGard is a nonhormonal IUD which uses copper as a spermicide to prevent pregnancy. Copper IUDs are effective for up to 10 years.

Get a Prescription

Before prescribing an IUD, your doctor will want to discuss possible side effects. As with all methods of birth control, there are some side effects that may occur with IUD use, such as heavier or irregular periods or severe menstrual cramps. However, these side effects usually disappear within six months of insertion as your body adjusts to the IUD.

Inform your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners, St. John’s wort, or HIV or AIDS medications as these can interfere with your IUD’s effectiveness. If your current health and medical history do not pose any issues, your medical provider can write you a prescription for an IUD.

Schedule an Appointment

Make an appointment with your doctor to have your IUD inserted. You may experience pain or discomfort during the insertion as the IUD is passed through your cervix and into your uterus. Cramps or bleeding may develop after insertion, but these symptoms should go away within a day or two.

If you want your hormonal IUD to be effective right away, have it inserted within seven days of the start of your last period. The copper IUD is effective immediately regardless of when it’s inserted.

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